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Music of the spheres,
This review is from: Victoria: Ave maris stella; O quam gloriosum /Westminster Cathedral Choir · Hill (Audio CD)
It may be seen from previous reviews that these two masses contain music which moves more profoundly than almost any other of its type. It manages to combine a kind of propulsive momentum with a sense of timelessness. The slim, pure voices of the boys of the Westminster Choir bring to mind cherubim or putti in the Heavenly Host exalting the Almighty, tossing fragments of melody in canon to the lower voices who underpin their soaring paean.
The acoustic of the cathedral is ideal for creating a sense of space of grandeur. Intonation is superb and the human voices often takes on the characteristics of pealing bells, yet diction remains pellucid despite the resonant ambience. No polyphonic music ever expressed such unfettered yet dignified joy or reflected more confidently the rejuvenated certainties of the Counter-Reformation.
I have sung this music several times and always remark upon how the choir finds itself "in flow" during performance; no devotional music has ever been devised to sit more comfortably on the voice. How can just singing "judicare vivos et mortuos" in four parts in the Credo be so thrilling? De Victoria makes real drama out of the Creed instead of just going through the liturgical motions; we sense that he is very close to the realities of the parousia and subsequent eschaton. This is music which never strays far from teleological doctrine. Great, grand, glorious music - buy it.
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